Cincinnati City Council Adds Gender Expression, Identity to Hate Crime Ordinance

During the Feb. 3 meeting, both Republicans and Democrats supported modifying the Cincinnati Municipal Code to add gender identity and gender expression as protected categories.

Cincinnati City Council proved Wednesday that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground.

During the Feb. 3 council meeting, council members voted to approve language that adds gender identity and gender expression as protected categories under the city’s hate crime ordinance.

The council minutes list the action modifying the Cincinnati Municipal Code as follows:

ORDINANCE (VERSION B), submitted by Andrew Garth, City Solicitor, on 2/1/21, MODIFYING Cincinnati Municipal Code Chapter 908, “Crimes Against the Person,” by amending Section 908-3, “Criminal Intimidation,” for the purpose of adding “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the list of people protected by this Section.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley praised the vote. “This is becoming kumbaya. This is a really beautiful thing,” he said.

Republican council member Liz Keating added support for the action, noting that the new language could be one key to talent recruitment and retention for Cincinnati.

“Not only is this the right thing to do, but it’s also the right thing to do for our city and for our businesses,” Keating said. “Being an inclusive city helps recruit businesses to want to post up here. It helps our businesses who are here help recruit talent here. It’s really important that we focus on our inclusivity.”

“I also want to put on the record that I hope our fellow lawmakers in Columbus will help support the efforts that we are working on here in Cincinnati and in particular look at outlawing the gay panic defense as a legal strategy,” she continued. “I think the work that we do in Cincinnati is important, and I'd love to see Columbus do the same.”

Democratic council member Chris Seelbach appreciated the bipartisan support.

“I just want to say how happy that makes me. LGBT equality is not and should not be a partisan issue. Right now, it is, and 99% of elected Republicans do not support it, and 99% of elected Democrats do,” Seelbach said. “It is so warming to my heart to know that we have a council that is 100% supportive of LGBT equality. It is incredibly heartwarming to hear not only that we have the support, but to hear Republicans speak out for LGBT equality. It’s a proud moment.”

Watch or listen to the full meeting on the council’s website.

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